Gagra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Abkhazia. The Caucasus Mountains step close to the sea there, protect Gagra against cold northern winds in winter and supply necessary coolness in summer. This majestic combination of high cold mountains and the warm Black Sea is a secret of the pleasant subtropical climate at any time of the year. In Gagra you can see real lushness of exotic flora. Walking through the old town center you can see palm trees, eucalyptus, agaves, tangerine and lemon trees. All those trees look fascinating, dazzling and fantastic in their exotic beauty.

Gagra is a very picturesque town, like a giant park where you can walk along the fountains, ponds, palm and eucalyptus trees.

How to reach Gagra

Gagra is located close to the Russian-Abkhazian border (Psou border crossing point), so it will take about half an hour by car to reach it. Or you may take a train to Sukhumi, and from there take a bus to Gagra.

The way to Gagra from the Russian border

Detailed information about the Abkhazia border crossing and about visa for foreign tourists (except Russian citizens) is in the article "How to get to Abkhazia."

Ruins at the entrance to Gagra
Ruins at the entrance to Gagra. Photo by Andrew

Gagra beaches

An equipped quay where people can walk in the shadows of eucalyptus, palm and oleander trees runs along the whole coast. Most of the beaches are covered with small pebbles with rare sand patches. Sea water is pure and crystal clear. The water temperature is about 26 in summer. The peak season lasts from May till October.

If you like calm and steady rest, go to the beach in Old Gagra. Here, away from the hustle and bustle, you can enjoy the virgin nature and serene atmosphere.

Bathing at sunset
Bathing at sunset. Photo by Andrew

For vivid impressions and beach activities you’d better visit the central beach in New Gagra. It is quite noisy, but there you will find cafes and shops, parks and a lot of attractions. But keep in mind that there are much more people.

There is a diving center in Gagra, if you are interested in diving activity. However, the Black Sea is not rich in the underwater world diversity, but you may enjoy corals and bright colorful fishes. For fun, you can also take a ride on a jet ski, speed-boat and enjoy water skiing or parachute floating above the beach. There is a modest aqua-park in New Gagra which is opened for tourists in summer. For extreme sport fans there are rafting tours on the river Bzyb – quite an adventure, I may say. While in Gagra be sure to visit Lake Ritsa, it is one of the most wonderful and amazing places in the Caucasus Mountains.

Gagra view from the Sukhumi highway viewpoint

Gagra view from the Sukhumi highway viewpoint. Photo by Andrew

Gagra view from the Sukhumi highway viewpoint. Photo by Andrew

Near Gagra there are several observation platforms opening incredible panorama sea views. That is where you will understand why tourists are so fond of Abkhazia: it is an amazingly beautiful country. Unfortunately, terrible devastation reigns the country, so there is almost nothing left there except the natural beauty of the landscape.

Crystal clear water
Crystal clear water

Gagra attractions

Fortress Abaata is one of the oldest places of interest in Gagra, it was built by the Romans in the 4th century. Now it is ruined. You can also visit the local history museum and Church of St. Hypatia.

Prince of Oldenburg Castle is considered to be a popular tourist destination in old Gagra, it was built in 1902. Currently, the building is derelict, but a person with imagination can clearly grasp the style and harmony of the terrain which was a hundred years ago. There was a park, but now it is thicket that seems to have absorbed the whole charm of the place.

We saw Gagra as a place lost in time. There are no luxury hotels and palaces, but the nature is infinitely beautiful and picturesque. But for old Soviet boarding houses and abandoned buildings Gagra would impress anyone. Let us hope that Abkhazia will start flourishing and developing its economy in the nearest future.